All posts by bizeditors

Bitcoin and ICO Mania: How to decipher it

ICO (Initial coin offerings) wave has truly caught up in 2017 — more than $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency has been raised through ICOs so far in 2017.

If you have not heard about the term let me give a simple primer. ICO is essentially an unregulated way to bypass the standard fund raising procedure used by some of the cryptocurrency startups. Coin essentially then becomes a vehicle to own some kind of stake in the venture. Coins were essentially designed to be an integral part of the product or protocol offering, but have been abused by many startups to raise quick money.

As an entrepreneur or businessman should I be investing in the Crypto wave?

Cryptocurrencies or the crypto wave has taken the world by storm. There has been a slew of ICOs (Initial coin offerings) accompanied by astronomical increase in prices of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and other cryptocurrencies. It seems like we are creating a new world everything built on top of a blockchain.

Prices of Bitcoin has risen from 0.008 Dollars in 2010 to more than $7000 dollars today. In fact some of the Indian exchanges now quote prices in Satoshi where one Bitcoin = 10^8 Satoshis. You can track Satoshi to INR price 

So as a businessman and an entrepreneur if you are sitting on the side-line and wondering if there is a revolution happening or it is all just one big bubble please keep reading in on. In this post I am outlining a few key indicators you can use to assess an ICO or for that matter any crypto asset.

Team (Founders and early developers)

For any Open Source crypto project expertise of the team is most critical. So if you are looking for investing in ICO the first thing is to look at the team. Check their expertise. Go beyond LinkedIn profile, look at their publications and other credentials. Look at their code contributions in the past and the peer review of the protocol they are proposing. Check up the advisory board and early backers of the ICO.

Utility of the Coin (token) to the Product or Protocol

Whenever a new Initial Coin offering is announced first thing that you should look up is does the proposed product or protocol require coin (token) sale or not. If coin (token) is not native or intrinsic to the new product or protocol proposed then it is not a great sign. Ideally such products/ offerings should to go through normal venture capital route to raise funds. ICO in such cases is nothing but a shortcut to raise quick money. If you look up any of the successful Altcoins in the market like Siacoin or Filecoin , they are intrinsic to the protocol they are enabling .

Review code or at least check reviews of code from experts 

For any new protocol ultimately what matters is great code backing it up. While all of us are not experts at reviewing codes, what we can definitely do is check what other experts are talking about the code. Please go to relevant forums like bitcoin talk threads to look up what other people are saying about the code / scalability and security issues. Read up their whitepaper or look for a review / feedback on the whitepaper.

Are developers enthused by the protocol/ICO?

For any protocol to develop and flourish, early adopters are the key. And in most cases, early adopters can be developers or other folks on the online communities. So do look out for developer interest – are lot of developers enthused by the project are they contributing to the project?

Early Backers 

Quality of early backers can also help you understand the quality of ICO. For e.g. Blockstack whose ICO is open now is backed by YCombinator, Naval Ravikant and a bunch of really smart people in the valley. This can be a good way to look at the quality of ICO.

Transparency of the core team

For any open source project to succeed, a key factor is how transparent and forthcoming the team is. Are they open to hard questions? Do they communicate openly with the community and other stakeholders? Do they publicly share progress? Are they open to be grilled on choices they are making?

Block chain and distributed systems present tremendous opportunities to build a new kind of technological landscape. But as it is with every boom there are too many fakes around. For every bitcoin or ethereum, there will be a bunch of worthless tokens. So before you jump in, do your research and you can use some of the suggestions we discussed in this post.

About me: I am Sarabdeep Co-founder of Sipacoin.com – a service which helps you set up price alerts for your favourite cryptocurrency.

 

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The Most Comprehensive Compilation of GST Issues #India

Latest reports indicate that about 44 lakh businesses have filed GST returns taking revenue collections from GST to about Rs 94,000 crore.

As business owners, entrepreneurs, tax professionals and accountants grapple with various issues, here is an attempt to present a comprehensive compilation of various GST Issues in India – both policy as well as implementation issues.

If we have missed some issues, please email to admin@bizvidya.com to have those issues added to this list.

GST Issues

[A] GST Implementation Issues

  1. Digital Signature Issues:
    1. A seemingly simple but essential aspect of filing returns led to considerable delays. Under GST, all returns have to be signed electronically with a digital signature certificate (DSC). Jigar Doshi (SKP Group) pointed out that many of his clients were unable to attach DSC due to technical issues. Pratik Jain (PWC) said the DSC was not getting accepted for authentication of returns, despite being valid and functioning and it took multiple attempts to authenticate the returns by using DSC (5).
    2. A particular company could not pay tax, as the CFO of the company holding the digital signature had resigned. The new signatory could not be added until the old signatory allowed the use of his digital signature to include new signatory. The situation gets worse in cases where the signatory has expired or has moved out of the country (4).
  2. TRAN 1:
    1. Taxpayers who intend to carry forward transitional credits – from the pre-GST regime – can file form TRAN 1 till September 28. But those who intended to use the transitional credits to offset their tax liability in July had to fill this form by August 28. To fill out this form, the Goods and Services Tax Network had promised an offline utility tool. But the GSTN failed to deliver on its promise (5).
    2. With the August 28 (Monday) deadline looming for filing returns and ensuring GST compliance, corporates are a deeply concerned lot. The offline utility for GST TRAN 1 form — to be used to claim input tax credit for the pre-GST regime — was not available till Sunday, leaving just a day for filing returns and causing a weekend rush (8).
  3. E-cash ledger
    1. An e-cash ledger works like a wallet for GST purposes. It reflects the amount deposited towards GST liability and debits made to pay tax, interest or penalty. In the GSTN system, the cash ledger for all the laws – Central, State and Integrated GST – is maintained separately, Pratik Jain (PWC) said. But there is no facility to transfer funds from one cash ledger to another, he added. The balances in electronic cash ledger belong to the taxpayers and so, transfer of balances between different heads in electronic cash ledger should ideally be allowed, he added.
    2. Besides this, multiple entries are shown in the electronic cash ledger and sometimes credits made available are more or even less than actually claimed in TRAN-1; obviously these are system errors, Jigaar Doshi (SKP Group) pointed out (5).
  4. Handling data errors:
    1. A another aspect that continues to confound taxpayers about TRAN -1 is whether they can submit a revised TRAN-1 before September 28. A few tweets from government handles suggest that TRAN-1 can be revised; however, there is no clarity on this (5).
    2. There have also been cases where companies have deposited cash under the wrong tax head or have submitted the return with wrong information only to realise it later but with no recourse to change it (4).
    3. Jain pointed out that the GSTN did not allow any rectification or modification in the return once it was submitted. In some cases, the tax liability of the assessees increased by crores of rupees, just due to inadvertent punching of an extra digit in the form, he added. Much to the relief of assesses, the government has now addressed this concern and notified that changes in the summary returns can be made through GSTR-1 and GSTR-2 (5).
  5. Invoice Date Issues:
    1. Some taxpayers are facing errors when the invoice date is before the customers’ registration date (1).
    2. “Since this is the first time of filing GST returns taxpayers are struggling with how to report information under different sections of the GSTR-1. Some are confused and are reporting the same invoice under separate sections of GSTR-1. Some taxpayers are seeing errors where invoice date is before the date of registration of the supplier,” says ClearTax, Founder and CEO (2).
  6. Data Required Mismatch with Notified Rules: The additional data and columns that the GSTR-1 has is different from the format which was notified. For example, there is a column which asks the reasons for giving a debit note. It even asks if the debit note is corresponding to pre-GST or post-GST time frame. This is not there in the notified rule, but when you go online to file the return, such additional data gets thrown up. (2)
  7. Auto-Checks: There are times when companies are uploading invoices, but the system automatically says the invoices cannot be from the pre-GST regime. What has stumped many is the auto-checks the system has been built around. Any divergence and the system refuses to take an entry. “Taxpayers are navigating through a complex web of auto checks, which many a time is not allowing valid transactions, keeping them at tenterhooks. For instance, supplies to SEZ has an IGST component, but the system is not allowing IGST if the supplier is in the same state,” says KPMG, Partner, Priyajit Ghosh. (2)

 

[B] GST Policy Issues

  1. Hand Crafted Goods ignored: A note prepared on behalf of the hand-made goods segment and shared with the Prime Minister’s Office draws attention to the fact that the word ‘hand’ (as in, for instance, hand-made or handicraft) is entirely missing from the GST list of items – except for a perfunctory reference to ‘handloom machinery’. This implies that the concepts of ‘handwork’, ‘handicraft’, and ‘hand skills’ have not been acknowledged at all in the GST framework (6).
  2. Small Sellers required to register if selling inter-stateEvery supplier, howsoever small, is required to register under GST when making inter-State supply, which adds to the compliance burden forvery small players like artisans. For example, they may be selling to online portals or those who conduct fairs in various States (6).
  3. Small Exporters:
    1. Small exporters are disadvantaged vis-a-vis big players like those with coveted star trading house tag as they are being asked to furnish bonds and Letter of Undertaking (LUT) to local commissioners unlike the latter (3).
    2. What is more, exporters are running between the offices of customs commissioners and assistant customs commissioners who have been officially delegated powers to accept bonds and LUT but are reluctant to use the new authority for some reason, industry sources said (3).
  4. Credit on Business ExpensesIt is recommended to allow credit on all business expenses rather than restricting some of them. The negative list is still quite big and open to interpretations (4).
  5. Credit linked to Recipient making PaymentIt is recommended that Credit should not be linked to the recipient making payment to the supplier. Business exigencies may require holding back payments or business transactions may require not paying the supplier at all. The government need not walk into the realm of business transactions, especially when online matching ensures that the tax on the underlying transaction is paid (4).
  6. Multiple Tax Slabs for similar items:
    1. The same product can fall under differential tax slabs. For instance, there is no GST on rice sold loose, while branded rice attracts 5% tax.  But because a brand is not recognised legally unless it is registered under the Trade Marks Act, 1999, India Gate, the country’s highest-selling rice brand, will not attract the 5% GST – and will, therefore, have a price advantage over competing registered brands (7).
    2. A similarly curious clause is that yarn blended with more than 50% polyester attracts 18% GST, but yarn with more than 50% wool has a levy of 5% GST. In Uttar Pradesh’s Bhadohi, famous for its carpets, officials were recently asked by traders what GST rate applied to blended yarn with 50% wool and 50% polyester. They did not have a clue.Some suppliers in Bhadohi say they have already planned to show yarn blended with more than 50% polyester as yarn with more than 50% wool in their records (7).
    3. A textile manufacturer pointed to the irrationality of imposing 18% GST on processing chemicals and 28% GST on finishing chemicals, which are used in two different stages of production. Both chemicals come in black boxes, he said. Remove or switch stickers and government officials cannot tell one from the other. Yet the manufacturer said that there are fears that the officials might accuse manufacturers of playing this game even if they have not – and demand money (7).
    4. A fully constructed apartment bought by making a one-time payment will incur zero GST after undergoing verification from a regulating committee. By contrast, all construction-linked payments for flats will incur 18% GST. An apartment costing Rs 1 crore under such a plan will attract Rs 18 lakh as tax, an undeniably huge sum. One realtor said that he could foresee what will happen. He said to save on GST, Person X will book a flat in the name of Y, who is his dummy. The instalments Y pays will actually be X’s money. When the last instalment is due, Y will notify the builder that he does not want to buy the flat, said the realtor. The builder will tell the regulating committee that Y has backed out, but he is fortunate to have a new purchaser in X. The builder will refund Rs 80 lakh to Y, whose money it wasn’t anyway. X will then buy the now completed flat for Rs 1 crore and not pay GST, said the realtor.Such a method will raise issues of income disclosures, but the narrative underscores that multiple, high tax rates are already driving people to think of dodging GST (7).
    5. The state is asking to be cheated by hotels where multiple GST rates also apply. Rooms priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,500 attract 12% GST, but those between Rs 2,500 and Rs 7,500 will have 18% GST. It is possible that hotels with low occupancy will woo customers by making them stay in the more expensive rooms, but bill them for those priced lower. The state will lose 6% tax (7).
    6. Many low-priced items such as needles, kites, carnival toys and broomsticks are now taxed. Mahesh Krishnamurthy, founder of Craftisan, an e-commerce platform for hand-crafted products, says that under the earlier tax regime, in Delhi, VAT was 0 to 5 per cent for handlooms and handicrafts, but now the tax range is from 3 per cent to 18 per cent. “The retail price for consumers will have to increase, which may potentially cause reduced absorption,” he says. Also, certain products and raw materials that are hand-made by the most disadvantaged groups are under punitive GST rates (6).

Sources:

  1. http://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/gst-return-filing-woes-remain-117090600032_1.html
  2. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/small-biz/policy-trends/gst-return-filing-stumps-millions-of-taxpayers-filing-portal-keeps-throwing-tantrums/articleshow/60372889.cms
  3. https://thewire.in/173540/india-exports-gst-slump/  
  4. http://www.forbesindia.com/article/special/gst-heres-what-would-help-its-smooth-implementation/48033/1
  5. https://www.bloombergquint.com/gst/2017/09/04/the-pain-behind-rs-92283-crore-gst-collection
  6. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/gst-watch-hands-that-craft-have-gone-missing/article9837072.ece
  7. https://scroll.in/article/843861/how-multiple-tax-slabs-provide-small-manufacturers-suppliers-service-sector-a-reason-to-dodge-gst
  8. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/companies-fear-losing-credit-over-gst-filing-errors/articleshow/60249529.cms

Looking for a CTO for funded venture

A well-funded venture in Mumbai region is looking for a world-class CTO to lead and enhance the technology infrastructure for a successful online product (portal) with a successful brick-and-mortar business model.

The CTO /  VP Tech would:

  • Conceptualize and own the technology vision of the venture
  • Create a roadmap to set-up technology infrastructure for venture
  • Align technology and product with organizational strategic vision
  • Synchronize technology and product with branding, marketing and growth strategies
  • Build and lead a world-class technology team

Email your profile to careers@bizvidya.com for a completely confidential discussion.

CodeBharat – App Developers Invited for In-House Entrepreneurship Program #Delhi

Code Bharat Program for App Developers
Code Bharat Program for App Developers

Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), under its CodeBharat program, is inviting applications from individual App developers who are passionate about working on real-world bottom-of-pyramid problems and implementing cutting-edge solutions.

This is an exciting opportunity for developers to conceptualize, visualize, design and develop solutions that improve the quality of life for underprivileged communities in rural areas. Through this program, DEF aims to nurture innovators who are inspired to solve social problems and are passionately self-driven to lead a project from ideation and conceptualization to design and development, taking responsibility for end-to-end execution of ideas.

This program shall provide the necessary resources and infrastructure to help app developers translate their skills and passion into real-world working solutions for social development and impact purposes. DEF shall engage and nurture app developers in different solution categories based on their interests, skills and strengths.

Here is an illustrative list of categories:

Apps for Education: There are about 1.4 million schools in India employing about 7 million teachers. Areas of designing mobile solutions could be around improving access to education and enhancing quality of education; increasing attendance at schools; ensuring availability of infrastructure, 100% delivery of education; etc.

Apps for Panchayats: With 265,000 Panchayats in the country and 3 million Panchayat elected members across India, we need tools for Panchayats to manage their resources; engage their communities; achieve better governance; provide services to citizens; etc.

Tools & Utility Apps: Apps that can ease the process of benchmarking, community mapping, data management, surveys and research. This may also include solutions in areas like identity verification, Aadhar, BPL cards, Ration Cards, Voter Cards, government entitlements and others.

Infrastructure Apps: Apps that help manage large-scale project implementations, monitor government schemes and track local issues, campaigns and elections. Also, tools related to banking, microfinance and complaint mechanisms for local issues like water, transport, crime, etc.

Health Apps: Considering there are about 2 million frontline health workers in India, the entire ecosystems around them needs information dissemination, training and capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, and engage with communities to deliver better health services.

Tenure of CodeBharat Program: 6 – 12 months based on needs of the specific project and availability of the candidate.

Benefits to Developers: A monthly remuneration, incubation support including infrastructure and mentoring support. Developers who complete the full tenure of the program, shall have the opportunity to be co-founders of any entity that may be founded as a result of a successful implementation.

Eligibility Criteria: The applicant should herself / himself be the programmer, coder, visualizer & have very strong sense of understanding of the concerned subjects.

How to Apply: Email your CV with portfolio links to amar@defindia.org mentioning your name, current location and years of experience in app development in SUBJECT of the email with a short note as to why CodeBharat interests you and how you can contribute.

Good Luck!

Exciting Inaugural Launch of PEERSTART

Thanks to all the amazing entrepreneurs who made sure the event was a rocking success!
PeerStrat May 17 2014 Delhi
PeerStrat May 17 2014 Delhi

It was all about rich, in-depth and frank sharing of business challenges, opportunities, solutions and collaboration! A unique engaging rigorous Business Strategy Workout with cross-fertilization of ideas…

…and rich sharing of business referrals & leads!

Next meetup is on June 21, 2014 (3rd Saturday of each month)!

Thanks to #IndiaWowChat.com for covering our event, posting photos and sharing encouraging feedback about us on their Facebook Wall here:
Interesting new groups keep popping up in Delhi – the freshest is Peerstrat initiated by Omnizient Labs. This group is designed for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Participants review each other’s businesses and explore ways to grow faster and be the best in your industry. Lively insightful interaction!

To know more about the structure of PEERSTRAT see this presentation here.

We are getting a huge response on our Facebook post here. Bookmark http://facebook.com/peerstrat to stay tuned for more news and events.

PeerStrat Photo By IndiaWowChat
PeerStrat Photo By IndiaWowChat
PeerStrat on May 17 2014 New Delhi
PeerStrat Strategy Workout on May 17 2014 New Delhi

SME Joinup Partners with Omnizient Labs to promote PEERSTRAT

SME Joinup Network – India’s Largest Services Network, has partnered with Omnizient Labs to promote PEERSTRAT .

PeerStrat SMEJOINUP
PeerStrat SMEJOINUP

PEERSTRAT is a first of its kind event, where entrepreneurs, business professionals, corporate executives take the prime speaking slot instead of monotonous star speakers or a high-power panel. This unique event – a high energy Peer Strategy Review workout (PEERSTRAT) session is being conducted by Omnizient Labs.

Date: Saturday, 17th May, 2014
Timings: 3:30 to 6:30
Location: Samavar, B-36A, Pamposh Enclave, GK-1, New Delhi – 110048

SME Joinup Member Special Offers:

There is a special offer for SME Joinup members. All SME Joinup members can avail of a 25% discount on the fees of attending the event. To avail of this offer, use the Promo Code SMEVIDYA on PeerStrat Event on Sat, May 17, 2014 at New Delhi. To use promo code, click on the link “Have Discount Code?” at http://www.meraevents.com/event/peerstrat. For more information fill the form below.

Why should you attend:

All participants are invited to share the challenges and opportunities they are facing in their business as per the following Five Step PEERSTRAT Agenda:

#1 Build Unique Business – Eliminate Competition!
#2 Recreate Brand – Tell a Compelling Story!
#3 Maximize Revenues – Penetrate Newer Markets!
#4 Maximize Profits – Transform Business Processes with Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)!
#5 Track Success – Identify Critical Success Measures – What Gets Measured Gets Done!

Plus a Networking session, which will not be just merely exchanging card, but actually people seeking reference from a particular company or seeking some business opportunity or looking for a supplier or any type of business, platform will enable that.

Who should attend:

Independent Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Senior Business Managers, Business Heads, CXOs, Directors, Partners of family owned business, Proprietors, Middle Management.

Cost:

Participation fees are nominal INR 1000 to cover basic cost of the event.

Contact SME Joinup

See the promotion details here. Contact details are here.

SME Joinup Partner: Omnizient Labs

Omnizient Labs is a pioneering Training, Coaching & Consulting organization which specializes in creating a holistic 360 Degree view for individuals and groups and helping them take quick decisions and actions to maximize benefits in a short time.
Omnizient is impacting people in various communities and workplaces across the globe including regions like North America, Europe, Far East and South East Asia.

Looking for Freelance Content Writers & Research Writers

Our work with organizations including Startups, SMEs and NGOs, requires us to churn out world class content at great speed.

Your Interests: You are already well-read and love to read more.

Your Skills: You enjoy research, analysis and sorting tons of statistics and data.

Your Strengths: You have a knack to compile summaries from multiple sources of data.

If this interests you, please email your résumé with links to your work to amar @ bizvidya.com

Location: Delhi, Gurgaon and NCR Region is preferred, though remote writing is possible.

Terms & Payments: Terms & conditions vary from assignment to assignment, so you may freely mention your interest areas and expectations.

Looking for Freelance Content Writers & Research Writers
Looking for Freelance Content Writers & Research Writers